How Can I Tell if My Clutch Is Going Out?

Manual transmissions are fun to drive, aren’t they? We love them here at Fairfax Auto Repair. We service and repair manual transmissions, including the clutches, as well as automatic transmissions. Depending on how you use it, you can expect your clutch to last anywhere from 30,000 miles to 100,000 miles. Here are signs that your clutch is going out and it’s time to replace it.

Burning Smells

If you detect burning smells when you use your clutch, the clutch is starting to slip. Sometimes, the odors can be accompanied by a rattling sound. You will notice the rattling when you aren’t using the clutch. If your clutch is slipping, it will need to be replaced.


You will grind your gears when you first learned how to use a clutch, but once you get used to it, your gears shouldn’t grind anymore. If they start grinding as you shift them, you may have a problem with the gear synchronizers or your clutch may be wearing out.

Hard Gear Changes

A sign that your clutch is going bad is also difficulty shifting the gears. You shouldn’t have a problem shifting through the gear cycle or putting your car, truck, or utility vehicle into reverse. A worn-out clutch will make shifting the gears more difficult than normal.


A clutch that is going bad cannot send enough power to the wheels, and you may notice that your vehicle hesitates when you press down on the accelerator. If you are hauling something, the hesitation will be more noticeable.

High RPMs

Another sign that your clutch is going bad is higher-than-normal RPMs. High RPMs indicate that your clutch is slipping, and slippage occurs once the clutch is wearing out. Keep an eye on your tachometer to see where your RPMs are at in each gear.

Higher Catch Point

Once you get used to your clutch, you know where the catch point is. If the place where the clutch bites changes, it usually goes higher, your clutch is wearing down. It’s definitely time for a new clutch if the catch point keeps rising.


Finally, your clutch pedal should never feel spongy. This is usually the first sign that your clutch is going out. You may feel the pedal loosen and sink to the floor much more quickly. This could be a problem with the hydraulic system or the clutch release mechanism.

Fairfax Auto Repair is the best auto service shop in Fairfax, VA, and as we said above we work on manual transmissions. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a clutch inspection.

Call Fairfax Auto Repair at 703-822-5911 for an appointment today!

Photo by Mihajlo Maricic from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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